Talisker, 25 (2009 Release) 54.8% ABV.
This is one that I have been meaning to get back to for some time. This is the 2009 release, which was at a higher ABV than the subsequent 2011 and 2013 releases.
On the nose, I find tangerine and orange, a somewhat dry presentation, with very light peat notes. When I sip this dram, it takes on a whole new character. On the palate, the smoke and peat flood the senses, soon followed with pepper heat taking over. In the aftermath, it settles in with smoked salt. It shows the smoothness of a well aged whisky, but this is no gentle dram. It grabs you and takes you for a ride. Sort of a turbo charged Talisker 18. The finish is long and warm, the pepper settles in and smoky peat
This is a very fun whisky, certainly one that appeals to my tastes. I will one day have to find out if the newer releases, at lower ABV, deliver a similar profile. Although, the cost of this 25 year old is climbing into the range that makes it a less reasonable purchase.
I waited a couple days to revisit this Talisker. The Talisker 18, like the Talisker 10 is chill filtered, 45.8% ABV.
Sweet, maybe a little citris with mild smoked peat on the nose. The real distinction from the Talisker 10 shows when it hits your palate. A sweet entry, with an allspice accompaniment, transitioning to pepper with a smoke lingering. It lays on your tongue, a slight oily coating – mixing the pepper and smoke. This leads to a medium to long finish, dry and not burning.
I find this to be a more balanced, smooth, mature whisky in contrast to the Talisker 10. I think you get a better quality dram with the 18, but then again you should for about twice the price of the 10. It is a more seductive whisky to be sure and, for me, worth the extra cost.
Talisker 18 was selected as the Best Whisky in the World at the 2007 World Whiskies Awards. I do not know if I would name it as one of my top 5, but it would likely compete for a spot in the top 10.
Talisker 10. 45.8 ABV, Chill filtered.
I found my perception of this Isle of Skye single malt has shifted from when I first sampled it a few years back. When I first met this whisky, I had been mostly sampling Highland single malts. At that time, my first reaction was the strong smoke and peat presence on the nose and palate. Now, years later, after broadening my base, particularly with a couple dozen Islay single malts, I find my reaction to Talisker to have shifted substantially.
I now find the nose to be subdued smoke with a sweet floral/honey undercoating. On first exposure, the palate is a little sweeter than I recall, a sherry and spice, with smoke and pepper emerging. The finish is modest, lingering smoke and peppery.
I still think it is a very good single malt, and a good value overall. It might be a nice dram after a grilled meal, the mild smoke and sweetness providing a suitable transition.
A couple years ago, spent an enjoyable Saturday evening exploring these variations of Talisker. A very pleasant journey with friends.
I think it may be time to revisit each of these variations of Talisker on their own. Partly, I wonder how my tastes for specific single malts has shifted over time. While I find each enjoyable in it’s own way, I have moved from Highland to Islay in terms of my broad taste preference.
As a start, here are my notes from the past:
One of the best of the single malt distilleries from where I sit. Great complexity, with some shared elements … smooth first taste warming to peppery and long finishes … and each bottling bringing distinctive elements. The Talisker 10 is an outstanding bold scotch for a very good value. The 18 and the 25 bring smoother, and increasingly nuanced, presentations. The Distiller’s Edition is very good, but would be the one I would drop if I could only have three.